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Cooperation reigns as Washington Township Municipal Authority, supervisors meet

January 30, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Washington Township Supervisors and Washington Township Municipal Authority made promises Tuesday evening to communicate better.

"I'm glad we're sitting here talking because stuff falls through the cracks apparently," said C. Stewart McCleaf, a member of the WTMA's five-person board.

"I think what happened in the past needs to stay in the past. It's yesterday's news," said Lori Frantz, a newly appointed member to the WTMA board.

In recent months, tensions have built between some of the supervisors and some representatives of WTMA. The municipal authority manages the township's water and sewer systems.

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Things got off to a strained start when the two boards met Tuesday, with differing opinions voiced on how to attack the agenda. However, cooperation prevailed as discussions continued over the next several hours.

The WTMA offered a menu of reports it can provide the supervisors, who said they will decide tonight which ones they want regularly.

"We don't have the time to create more and more spreadsheets with the same information 14 different ways," WTMA board chairman Jeff Geesaman said.

Representatives of the WTMA sought to assure the supervisors that they are planning for the future, contrary to accusations from some of the elected officials. One well is not even being used now and another is in planning stages, they said.

"The sewer is more problematic than the water," Geesaman said, explaining that several sewer lines are too small.

"They've worked for 30 years, but now they'll have to be increased for capacity," Geesaman said. That is something that can be required of a developer, he said.

The WTMA also remains in a holding pattern concerning planning for future sewer plant needs as it remembers that new, unknown nutrient guidelines are expected to be mandated by the state, according to Geesaman.

Geesaman said the WTMA board would not enter into an argument about the possible disbanding of the authority, an idea recently floated by Supervisor Chairman Carroll Sturm. The supervisors established the WTMA board and appoint members to it, but the municipal authority operates similar to a business and does not use tax money.

Supervisor Stephen Kulla told Geesaman that when addressing the disbanding matter, "make it clear that you're talking to Mr. Sturm and not the supervisors" as a whole.

Sturm said he will revisit the matter of possibly disbanding the WTMA in a few weeks.

"They answered some questions for now," Sturm said.

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